May 30 2013

Counterpunch: CIA Thwarts Polio Vaccination Campaign

Newswire | Published 30 May 2013, 12:11 pm | Comments Off on Counterpunch: CIA Thwarts Polio Vaccination Campaign -

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A polio vaccination campaign worker was shot to death in Pakistan on Tuesday, which The New York Times wasted no time in reporting. What the Times article neglected to mention was that the killing followed a CIA operation in which agents orchestrated a fake vaccination program in order to gain entry to Osama Bin Laden’s home. (The plot was based on knowledge that health workers had previously managed to enter Bin Laden’s home to administer polio drops to the children.)

The importance of such background information apparently eluded the Times, whose motto is ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’. It’s easy to see why the details of the CIA operation were unfit for print: first, it’s embarrassing to the U.S., which the paper is greatly biased toward; and second, Pakistan is an official enemy of the U.S., so it’s an exercise in patriotism to imply that Pakistan is home to Muslim extremists who don’t believe in vaccines or science, and therefore murder polio vaccine volunteers for sport. The nearest the Times article gets to mentioning the CIA’s bogus vaccine program is a vague reference to “the Pakistani Taliban, who have criticized vaccination efforts as a cover for Western espionage.” Not only does the NYT lack the integrity to recognize that “vaccination efforts” were in fact cover for Western espionage; they also imply that such notions are the result of some kind of sinister Taliban disinformation campaign.

Like some kind of Billy Mays infomercial—‘But wait, there’s more!’—the Times’ shameful coverage doesn’t end there. They go on to say that, “Also [in addition to the Taliban], religious extremists claim that the real aim of vaccination campaigns is to sterilize Pakistan’s Muslim population.” The implication is again that Pakistan is populated with menacing religious zealots whose fundamentalism stands in the way of scientific progress. Characterizations such as these conform very nicely to the view that clashes between the West (i.e. NATO) and the Middle East are not rooted in any sort of real economic or political grievances (e.g., the U.S.’ installation of dictators like the Shah in Iran; or the U.S.’ theft of oil resources), but rather “a clash of civilizations”, as Foreign Affairs once put it. The view that there are irrevocable religious differences between the West and the Middle East is very useful to Western leaders seeking to justify acts of aggression, like the invasion of Iraq.

The Times can’t plead ignorance of the CIA’s false vaccination program. Just last year they published an article titled, “C.I.A. Vaccine Ruse May Have Harmed the War on Polio.” How NYT’s own coverage didn’t figure into another article on essentially the same topic is a fine illustration of the establishment media’s studied obliviousness. And it’s not as though they were oblivious to some marginal issue with the vaccine story. As a recent article in Scientific American states, “the CIA’s fake vaccination campaign endangers us all” by impeding the distribution of polio vaccines. Incidentally, Pakistan is one of the last few countries on the planet in which Polio persists.

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